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Pre-med Rotations and Public Health in India | Loni (Maharashtra), India

Center for Social Medicine

More photos from this internship can be found here

The Center for Social Medicine is based at the Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed University) in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Together with the support of the university, the hospital provides innovative rural health services to a wide range of beneficiaries. Interns have the opportunity to study the challenges faced in rural India from a systemic and clinical view and are able to tailor their program according to their background and interests. Interns will shadow doctors and nurses in the hospital, tour mobile and e-clinics, engage in trainings for women’s empowerment initiatives, HIV/AIDS prevention programs, and study health in tribal communities.

Using sound training and development principles, this internship meets the learning goals for students interested in public health, pre-med, nursing, dentistry, community health education, rural development, and more.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10 weeks (option to stay for additional time for highly qualified candidates)

The Center for Social Medicine (CSM) offers globally-minded international students a unique, life-changing public health and social work internship experience. CSM has been engaging international students and other volunteers in wide ranging projects/programs which include specialized medical care to public health and social development in rural & tribal areas of Maharashtra for years. It is the ideal place for students who want to learn by attending conceptual lectures (30%) while contributing their time and talents in the on-going health and development programs to understand the real India (blend of rich diversified cultures, traditional values, beliefs, and practices amidst of lack of resources, poverty, and limited access). Whether you shadow a doctor treating a cancer patient in a tertiary level teaching hospital, serve a tribal child in mobile clinic, a young anemic women in antenatal clinic at a rural health center, a sex worker in a HIV counseling session, or a farmer in a rural IT center, you will learn while serving humanity, creating unforgettable memories. The activities of CSM are spread across rural and urban areas, so participants get an overview of challenges and strategies in both settings.

CSM’s mission is to support and encourage interdisciplinary research, training, and services in the field of social medicine and community development for the benefit of students, faculty, and the needy community at large. CSM collaborates with faculty, staff, and students from various departments and academic programs across the University including medicine, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, biotechnology, bioscience management, Ayurveda, etc.

The Center also encourages international, national, regional, and community partnerships to foster a culture of interdisciplinary team work and a community of scholars at the cross roads of health and social sciences. CSM is working towards seven objectives:

  • To understand the health problems and needs of the rural and other vulnerable sections of the community with a view to find workable solutions in the existing social structure;
  • To delineate the structural constraints which limit the scope of health interventions in the community;
  • To train and nurture the students in the field of social medicine, rural health, and allied health sciences;
  • To conduct and promote research and scholarship in social medicine and allied sciences;
  • To provide comprehensive community oriented primary health care to the needy;
  • To bring behavioral changes and empower people for their health and development;
  • To develop networking and partnership with individuals and organizations.

Together with sister institutes in the area, the university and CSM are able to provide core competencies in community medicine, epidemiology and bio-statistics, population studies/demography, occupational health and agricultural medicine, natural and environmental sciences, psycho-immunology (meditation and yoga), biotechnology/bioinformatics, management sciences, health financing and economics, and social sciences (sociology, anthropology, psychology, and behavioral sciences). Learn more about the Center for Social Medicine and its programs at its website.

A wide range of opportunities are available at Center for Social Medicine. Interns may focus their internships in one or more of the following areas leading to a Certificate in Social Health and Development. Special internship programs and research projects can be developed for students per their interests.

  1. Shadow specialists (and nurses) of general medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, neonatology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, ENT, oncology, and family medicine at a 900 bed post-graduate medical teaching hospital.
  2. Observe all clinical diagnostic procedures like radio-diagnosis (x-ray, ultra-sonography, CT Scanning, MRI, mammography), laboratory techniques, HIV testing (microbiology, pathology, biochemistry, blood bank – component therapy) at the hospital.
  3. Shadow dental specialists in 14 dental specialties including oral medicine, conservative dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, pedodontics, orthodontics at a post-graduate level dental school.
  4. Assist qualified physiotherapists of different disciplines like general physiotherapy, musculoskeletal, neurosciences, pediatrics, cardio-respiratory, community physiotherapy and rehabilitation at a post-graduate level physiotherapy school.
  5. Shadow Ayurveda (Indian System of Medicine) doctors to understand the alternative systems of medicine and methods of treatment and therapy.
  6. Assist general doctors, nurses, lab technicians at rural health centers, mobile medical/dental units, and other out-reach camps/projects.
  7. Assist in the planning, execution, monitoring, and evaluation of public, social health, and development projects in rural and tribal areas.
  8. Undertake short and long-term teaching and research assignments in the field of public health, rural health, social and community development, or gender equality.
  9. Assist directly in the ongoing multidisciplinary social health and development projects and programs of CSM.

Depending on each intern’s interest, components of internships include:

Interactive Lecture series

Interns attend a lecture series two days per week to enrich their conceptual understanding of various issues related to social health and development in resource-poor settings. Faculty of CSM and medical, nursing, physiotherapy, dental colleges (and more) will deliver lectures and demonstrations covering various topics like social and community diagnosis, health care delivery systems in India, community health nursing, nutritional and child health assessment, role of peripheral health workers in rural health, role of blind faiths and beliefs and rural health, community health and development, healthy villages and promoting schools, concept and involvement of NGOs, environmental health, and information and communication technology in rural health.

Visits to Diagnostic Treatment Facilities at University Teaching Hospital

Observational visits to 900 bed multi-specialty tertiary level PIMS University teaching hospital located on campus to appreciate the delivery of medical and nursing care to patients. This covers General Medicine, Pediatrics, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Surgery, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, and Family Medicine departments. Interns observe the socio-economic, demographic, and morbidity profile of the patients to understand the treatment modalities, options, and methods. Interns also make visits to HIV/AIDS and TB Diagnostic and Treatment Centers.

Visits to Rural Health Centers (RHC)

Be a team member providing primary health care, women and child health, adolescent health, dental and physiotherapy care, health education, and counseling through “outreach” activities. RHCs are located in remote and tribal areas of the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Each RHC Team (consisting of a medical officer, nurses, and laboratory technician) covers 8-10 villages and serves about 10,000 – 15,000 people.

Mobile Health/Dental Clinic

Well-equipped Mobile Medical and Dental clinics serve about 125 remote and tribal villages covering a population of 200,000 on a monthly rotation.

Tribal Health & Development Project

Intern with health care teams at Rural Health Centers & Mobile Medical Units which serve tribal people (Thakar, Mahadev Koli) in impoverished villages that have been largely cut-off from mainstream development. These villages are in the well-known Western Ghats mountain range (Sayadri) in Maharashtra, India. This area attracts many tourists from the cities for mountainous trekking, boating, waterfalls, and tribal culture.

Rural E-Health Center

Opportunities to support development of farmers, rural students and youth, and women using e-health, e-agriculture, e-empowerment, and e-governance through village IT centers.

School Health, Hygiene, and Environment Program (SHAPE)

Participate in medical and dental check-ups of students; promote hand washing, nail cutting, oral, dental, personal hygiene, nutrition, physiotherapy and yoga, cleanliness, and tree plantation through awareness sessions in resource-poor primary and high schools of the drought-prone and tribal areas.

Outreach Health & Medical Camps

Multi-diagnostic and treatment camps, mini specialty camps (dental, MCH, eye, and physiotherapy), and general health check-up & screening camps organized in remote and underserved villages.

Women’s Empowerment Programs

Interns are welcome to actively engage themselves in ongoing social, economic, legal rights, and empowerment programs. The programs are specially designed for FSW in urban slums, PLW, HIV/AIDS, poor, and deserted women from rural and tribal areas. Participate in awareness-building sessions on gender issues like female feticide, domestic violence, and early marriages.

Prevention of HIV/AIDS Projects for FSW, MSM, and Migratory population

Opportunity to get involves in challenging areas like targeted interventions for prevention of STIs, HIV/AIDS among FSW (Female Sex Worker), Male having Sex with Male (MSM), and migratory workers in the urban slums of Nasik, India. The interventions include STI clinics, counseling, teaching negotiation skills, awareness generation, empowering collective leadership, etc.

Rural & Community Development Project

Opportunity to get involved in Healthy Village and Green Village initiatives covering activities like village sanitation, waste management, and safe drinking water practices.

Capacity Building Programs for Community Groups

Opportunity to share your knowledge and skills in capacity building (training-cum-workshops) of field level NGOs, CBOs, village women, traditional birth attendants (TBAs), traditional healers, school teachers and students, and local government functionaries in health and social developmental aspects.

Participation in Community Health and Development Activities

Interns can see how Participatory Rural Appraisals are applied in rural health assessments. Learn more about tools such as seasonality mapping, timeline, household surveys, school visits, and child screening, focus group discussion, and how the information is used for the community. Interns support trainings during village visits.

Academic Background

  • Ideal for pre-med, med, nursing, pre-nursing, or public health students with some prior experience and exposure in the health field. Interest and positive attitude to work in rural, remote areas, and urban slums for underserved people living in challenging environments and resource-poor settings is vital.
  • This internship site is available to a wide range of interested students, due to the variety of programs run by CSM. Students interested in any aspect of health and issues related to social services and development as it relates to health are encouraged to apply. Students pursuing a career in medicine are able to shadow doctors from any department in the hospital, which includes a very large dental wing. For students not on a pre-med track, past interns have highly recommended taking coursework in anatomy prior to this internship.
  • Students interested in issues germane to nutrition, community or rural development, income, gender, social justice and systems of governance as they pertain to health care would find this internship fascinating. Students interested in conducting research on these topics will have access to data and may be able to arrange interviews as needed.

Skills / Experience

  • Flexibility is key. Interns must be prepared to adapt to a wide variety of living and learning situations. Must be able to adapt to Indian culture and living in a rural area. Interns should understand the internship is designed and conducted with major learning objectives that every participating intern should 1) acquire clear understanding of the concepts of social health and development, 2) be exposed to ongoing projects, programs and facilities in preventive/curative/rehabilitative services at primary to tertiary level health care settings, 3) be exposed to various determinants of health in rural and urban life, and 4) be able to demonstrate skills on Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques.

Language Requirements

  • The official language used at the PIMS University is English, allowing international students to communicate with faculty and co-students of different disciplines in English. However, communication with general public, patients, and their relatives within and outside the University are predominantly in Hindi (national language) and Marathi (state language). The CSM Faculty & Staff will extend all necessary support for translation in professional as well as social arrangements. Hindi or Marathi is useful in daily life and travel but not necessary for the internship.

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Global Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: $2050 (10 weeks) + additional $100 per participant, per week (if applicable)
  • International Travel: $1,800
  • Visa Fees: $150
  • Recommended Immunizations: $600

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: Included in the host site fee
  • Food: $30 (most included in the host site fee)
  • Local Transportation: $150
  • Recreation: $150
  • Personal Expenses: $50

Additional Expense Information

The host site fee from CSM includes:

  • Room and board in International Center on-campus
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off from Mumbai
  • Clinical rotations
  • Transportation for internship purposes
  • 50 hours of internet

Interns stay in the Silver Jubilee International Center, a 108-room facility on-campus. Each room is furnished with beds, a reading table, chairs, electrical fittings (tube lights, fans etc), intercom telephone, internet connectivity, an attached bathroom, and a balcony. The International Center is also equipped with a furnished waiting lounge, water coolers with purified drinking water, common kitchen, and shared washing machines. The facility has 24/7 security and attendant facilities. The room services include periodical cleaning and change of linen (bed sheets, pillow covers, and blanket). During certain hours, a dedicated University official serves as a Warden/Friend/Guide/Philosopher within the International Center.

Interns receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days at the Postgraduate Student Mess run on Club basis, which is located just opposite to the International Center. Extra refreshments, soft drinks, bottled water, etc are the responsibility of the interns. When interns are on field visits/trips, lunches can be packed at the mess hall or may be provided at local restaurants.

For information on the accommodations and campus please see the attachment: Housing and Food at CSM

Blog Posts:

Final Reports:

Field Notes Postings:

  • Marissa and Cassie were recipients of the Gilman Scholarship for their internships in summer 2012. Read about their experiences and advice for future applicants.
  • View and listen to a great presentation by a pre-nursing and public health major, Marissa


“The most rewarding experience was definitely being in the Operating Room and seeing all the different operations being done. I’m glad that I had a few mentors teaching me the logistics behind suturing, the importance behind pathophysiology, and the utmost importance in maintaining the proper sanitation in the operation room. One thing I was proud of cross-culturally was that I was able to visit a few homes and was able to enjoy home cooked meals. It was definitely delicious and amazing to experience. All an all, everyone here wants to know you, wants to meet you, and wants to be friends with you. All you need to do is to find the strength to introduce yourself and meet them. They’re seriously one of the kindest peoples on Earth.”

- Dang, Oregon State University, Summer 2016

“Personally the more important benefit was the humbleness and gratitude I gained. Being in a poor, rural town really made me feel grateful for everything I have. I wouldn’t say that my impression of India has changed, but I would say that I developed an original impression while I was there. Professionally, I got to spend one-on-one time with a psychiatrist and have him explain what he was doing, and the reasons why he was doing these things. The benefit from this is developing my own ethics from hearing what a psychiatrist has to say about why he prescribes what he does. It gave me a chance to broaden my perspective in psychiatry.”

- Amelia, University of Washington, Summer 2016

“I had the opportunity to be exposed to the various departments of rural health clinics, mobile clinic, family medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, surgery, dermatology, laboratory, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and psychiatry. I felt a roller coaster of emotions as I got to witness what these community members go through daily, and how doctors choose to treat them. My eyes were wide open since the first day of the internship. I think the internship helped me solidify that I do want to pursue a career in dental hygiene because of how important it is to our overall health. I really enjoyed watching surgeries, and seeing patients in all the departments, dentistry has always caught my interest, since I began college, and it just helped me become more confident that this is where I want to put all my focus.”

- Taylor, University of Oregon, Summer 2016

“I chose this specific site to intern because I had this idea of India as being so bright and colorful, rich in culture, and full of people. I wanted to see how their healthcare system varied from that in the US, shadow some professionals within the field, and gain real-life experience within the hospital/healthcare industry. After being back in the states for some time, I’ve realized I’ve gained so much more. While interning at this site, I was the only American intern that was studying Public Health and though it was challenging, I really believe I took a lot away from the entire trip, professionally and personally. I got to experience a real-life hospital, different wards and entire new culture in my ten weeks in India. It was hard and I struggled, but I also grew a lot and flourished in ways I never knew I could.”

- Kelseyanne, Oregon State University, Summer 2016

"Professionally, the largest benefit was the fact that I really have narrowed my career aspirations - I have a much better idea of what fields I'm interested in and how to pursue these interests. the way I tried to be an "asset" was by staying engaged. I tried to ask a lot of questions, about the rotation, culture, everything and anything, so that I could personally learn, but also to show that CSM was bringing people here who cared. Personally, the largest benefit I had was the independence I developed. This was the farthest and the longest I've been away from Eugene and it really forced me to make connections different from those I usually make. It was refreshing to know I could make such good friends without Frisbee and that I could love a place and people so different from home."

- Gabrielle, University of Oregon, Fall 2015

"I had never seen a live birth or C-section before coming to India, and now I have seen about six or seven of each. It was no doubt a difficult experience to witness the first time, but it became easier the more we saw. At PMT, there is an average of 35-40 deliveries a day, and usually around 5-7 C-sections. On my last day in the labor room, there was a woman who had just given birth. She was alone, as all the mothers are, and had to endure a post-op procedure. Another intern and I were the only ones in the room with her and the doctor, and the woman reached out to us. Without hesitating I held her hand and let her squeeze it as hard as she needed to. Afterwards, she thanked me in Marathi. I think the most important thing I have learned about myself is that I will never be happy or satisfied with my career and life in general if I am not helping people. I have always had a vague notion of this, but being here in India in a medical environment has completely solidified it."

- Julie, Oregon State University, Fall 2015

"The thing that stood out was how beautiful the country is and how incredibly welcoming everyone has been since we arrived.  I think that this has really helped combat culture shock for me.  Everyone has been so kind, I have not felt the fear and anxiety that often comes with being thrown into a completely new culture. The most rewarding aspect of the culture is how kind and gracious everyone is.  Everywhere we go people always want to help us.  When we arrived during the Ganesh festival everywhere we stopped people would come and try to explain what was happening and try to include us.  They are also so giving.  One of the things I had a difficult time with that I did not expect was accepting people's generosity as a guest.  Everywhere we went (and I literally mean everywhere) we were immediately offered tea or drinks. I did not really realize that it was more offensive to decline these drinks and how much it meant to them to treat a guest well.  "

- Sierra, University of Oregon, Fall 2015

"One of the most important benefits of the internship professionally was solidifying my interest in the medical field. I had always known that I wanted to work in the medical field, but it was so inspiring and such a privilege to see the doctors in action. I literally cannot picture a future in any other field. One of the most important benefits to the internship personally was the wider scope on culture that I was able to gain. From the moment I arrived in the car in Mumbai, I instantly loved it. There is a joy and wonder that being in a new country brings that cannot be found anywhere else. I did not experience any culture shock because I felt so comfortable. It is difficult to describe this personal gain in words, but I feel as though I am a more well-rounded person, student, and for lack of a better word, dreamer, because I was surrounded by such a contrasting, beautiful culture."

- Karen, Oregon State University, Fall 2015

"I have spent a lot of time learning about public health in developing countries and this internship put many of the lessons learned into real world practice. As a medical anthropology and global health major, knowledge about global health was important contextual information that helped me imagine the relations between our health system and that of India's rural healthcare. I have noticed that this experience is just what you make it. It is true that I was in my comfort zone for quite some time and I had the choice to stay in my comfort zone or to leave it. I have been making efforts to spend less time doing my typical American things and really try to embrace the surrounding culture. For example try and spend more time chatting with the Indian students and watch more Bollywood movies as well as learn more of the language. I feel like I am learning a lot cross-culturally. "

- April, University of Washington, Summer 2015

"I was very impressed with the numerous programs and outreach events that PMT has for the community. For instance, they have a mobile clinic that travels to villages and delivers medical aid to people's homes. Another project works to minimize the transmission rates of HIV and STIs for commercial sex workers. PMT is truly making a difference in people's lives and in the rural health system. So far, I've gained a broad overview of the rural community by visiting local schools, clinics, and going on the mobile clinic to villages. We were also exposed to some of the unconventional schools of medicine practiced in India, such as ayuvedic medicine and traditional healing. We have seen the social and logistical aspects of this rural health system - it's important to understand the social issues and barriers to health care, especially since I plan to study medicine in the future."

- Emily, Oregon State University, Summer 2015


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

- Pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, public health, and other pre-health courses
- Prior experience in health care settings preferred